Sanctuary Mayors’ Strange, Unrequited Love for Illegal Migrants


June 3, 2024

By Brian Lonergan

One of the most common complaints about America in 2024 is that our elected leaders no longer represent the will of the people, and instead are implementing a stealth agenda that is leading us to ruin. There are numerous instances of this, but perhaps none clearer than the mayors of our largest cities and their obsession with illegal aliens.

Sanctuary mayors, those who welcome people here illegally and refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, are a strange breed. They purportedly hold office to serve as shepherds of their communities, charged with protecting their residents and acting in the best interests of their cities. Instead, they prioritize illegal aliens, many of whom have committed violent crimes, over the needs and interests of citizens and those lawfully here with a reasonable expectation of safety and opportunity.

The examples of this bait-and-switch are abundant. New York City, the most prominent metropolis in financial crisis as a result of its sanctuary policies, is apparently willing to become insolvent to appease its illegal community. Earlier this year New York finalized a nearly $77 million contract with the city’s hotel association to house migrants in 15 properties across Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. This comes after a previous $275 million deal with the hotel association to shelter more than 5,000 illegal aliens. Meanwhile, the city’s native born homeless sleep on sidewalks while the shelters meant for them have been repurposed for noncitizens.   

In Denver, Mayor Mike Johnston announced that his city will be reducing funding for its police force by $8.4 million to accommodate the needs of its surging alien population. The fire department and other public services would also see budget cuts, freeing up roughly $45 million for noncitizens.

Until Americans begin to prioritize secure borders and demand more from those in charge, nothing will change.   

The Mile High City has also begun its “Asylum Seekers Program,” which will provide those here illegally with assistance for housing, a work skills program, and a work permit.  

Given the lavish welcome wagon that sanctuary mayors have rolled out for those here illegally, one would expect the recipients to be grateful and humble. The love, strangely enough, only flows in one direction in this relationship.

In response to Denver’s largesse, migrant groups submitted a list of 13 demands that must be met before they would agree to leave an encampment and move into shelters. The demands included that they could “cook their own food with fresh, culturally appropriate ingredients provided by the City instead of premade meals.” Other demands included access to free immigration lawyers and no law enforcement officials allowed to monitor shelters. “We are not criminals and won’t be treated as such,” the demand letter read, ignoring the fact that illegally entering the United States is indeed a crime.

New York’s massive expenditures on migrant housing have been rewarded with the arrival of the violent Tren de Aragua gang from Venezuela, which has masterminded a crime ring that steals New Yorkers smart phones, uses the financial data on them to plunder victims’ bank accounts and then sells the phones in South America. The gang has also used the migrant hotels as a fertile recruiting ground for new members.

While such behavior puts the lie to bumper sticker slogans like “Immigration Makes Us Stronger,” the same sanctuary mayors and other politicians respond by fetishizing illegal aliens as somehow possessing more admirable qualities than native-born U.S. citizens.

New York Mayor Eric Adams recently suggested that the city’s lifeguard shortage could be filled by illegal migrants because “they’re excellent swimmers.” Why would that be, other than that the Mayor was engaging in tropes about migrants wading across the Rio Grande that anti-borders activists would otherwise consider to be racist?

When then-President Trump in 2018 called out the blood-soaked drug gang MS-13 that has come into the country from south of the border, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi seemed to defend the gang, talking about the “spark of divinity” that those who comes here illegally possess.

Despite the nation’s current 3.9 percent unemployment rate, more than 6.5 million Americans jobless and more than 1.9 million unemployment insurance claims filed, more than 40 sanctuary mayors recently signed a letter asking the White House to expedite work permits for millions of illegal aliens.

All this unrequited love for those who broke our immigration laws makes many wonder why sanctuary mayors are engaging in this courtship. Do they really care that much for noncitizens over citizens, or is it the aforementioned stealth agenda? The answer is this: it’s probably both, but it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that hardworking, law-abiding Americans are being neglected and abused by sanctuary mayors. Until Americans begin to prioritize secure borders and demand more from those in charge, nothing will change.   

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) in Washington, D.C, and co-host of IRLI’s “No Border, No Country” podcast.

Also published at The Blaze, June 3, 2024.

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